Situations where you find yourself able to wear denim-on-denim are rare.
This void can be filled for 10 days of every July in Calgary, Alberta. The Calgary Stampede, also known as the greatest outdoor show on earth, is a whirlwind time filled with hay bales, rodeos, and midway rides. The question, as it often is, is what to wear.
Dressing like you've stepped out of an old western movie can at first seem terrifying. But fear not! It takes no more than a simple shop around your own closet and a cheap pair of cowboy boots to go country.
It's a secret that many Calgarian women have learned and embraced over the past 100 years of the event. Our resident/transplanted Calgarian Meredith Gillies offers some quick tips for achieving an effortless look:
a) Summer dresses + cowboy boots = instant cowgirl: It will shock you to see how quickly that floral summer dress turns country bumpkin with a basic cowboy boot. This is the best trick any woman can learn, especially to keep cool and pretty when standing in the sun at the rodeo all day.
b) Accessories are your friend: Adding a bandanna, a pile of turquoise bangles a leather belt (or all three together) to a basic T-shirt with jeans also gives you a cowgirl look. Toss your boots back on, BOOM. Ready to go.
c) When the Canadian tuxedo is applicable, wear it.
d) Don't fear the cowboy hat: If you think you'll look ridiculous wearing a straw hat, just wait 'til you see the people wearing oversized foam hats that are 'funny'. They look ridiculous, you'll look stylish. And, it's a part of the tradition. If you don't wear a hat, you'll actually look a bit odd.
So if you're starting from scratch, invest in some cheap or vintage cowboy boots and make your way to Calgary any time between July 6 - 15.
Check out some of our picks for how to get the Calgary look without looking out of place. If you have a Stampede tip, let us know in the comments below or on Twitter.
The cornerstone of any Stampede outfit. It's not necessary to spend a lot of money -- go vintage and it's win-win for your feet and your pocket. <em>Urban Renewal Vintage Cowboy Boots, $69. Available at <a href="http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/urban/catalog/productdetail.jsp?id=17300930" target="_hplink">Urban Outfitters</a></em>
Perfect with a white t and jeans. And also because, how else will you keep your Wranglers up? <em>Floral Embossed Belt, $49.50. Available at <a href="http://www.luckybrand.com/Floral-Embossed-Belt/LBA01190,default,pd.html?cgid=womensBelts-1&selectedColor=200" target="_hplink">LuckyBrand.com</a></em>
Fringe adds instant twang to your outfit. It's true. <em>Ecote Fringed Crossbody Bag, $59. Available at <a href="http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/urban/catalog/productdetail.jsp?id=23525546&navAction=jump&isProduct=true&parentid=MORE IDEAS&isProduct=true&cross-sell=true&guide-bn=true" target="_hplink">Urban Outfitters</a></em>
This model is already showing you how country is done! Pretty white dress + tough cowboy-looking boots = Stampede perfection. <em>Denim & Supply Ralph Lauren Lace-Trim Slub Jersey Racerback Henley Dress, $68.60. Available at <a href="http://www.thebay.com/eng/womens-dressescontemporary-Lace_Trim_Slub_Jersey_Racerback_Henley_Dress-thebay/245344" target="_hplink">The Bay</a></em>
Turquoise accessories are timeless and will look great against the tan you'll get from standing in the sun all Stampede long (but you will of course be wearing lots of sunscreen as well, yes?). <em>Multi-Strand Beaded Faux Stone Bracelet, $7.80. Available At <a href="http://canada.forever21.com/Product/Product.aspx?BR=F21&Category=acc_bracelet&ProductID=1000046533&VariantID=" target="_hplink">Forever 21</a></em>
Previously known as jean shorts, this Stampede staple now goes by one name only. Because, true to their form and function, why bother with the unnecessary? <em>Pilcro Stet Roll-Ups, $68. Available at <a href="http://www.anthropologie.com/anthro/product/clothes-pants-shorts/24527350.jsp" target="_hplink">Anthropologie</a> </em>
Add some jorts and you've got yourself a fine Canadian tuxedo there, missy. <em>Marshall Classic Fit Denim Shirt, $95. Available At <a href="http://aritzia.com/fashion/tops/marshall-classic-fit-denim-shirt" target="_hplink">Aritzia</a></em>
The classic Stampede jean made modern, skinny and sexy. Not your grandpa's denim. <em>Wrangler Stokes Skinny Jeans, $66.28. Available at ASOS</em>
This rendition of the cowboy hat is perfect for first-timers. You'll want to wear it to the beach, picnics, work long after the Stampede is over. <em>Folded Brim Cowboy Hat, $12.80. Available at <a href="http://canada.forever21.com/Product/Product.aspx?BR=F21&Category=acc_hat&ProductID=2000042007&VariantID=" target="_hplink">Forever 21</a></em>
For those cooler days. Button it all the way up and you're no nonsense. Roll up the sleeves and they'll know you mean business. Go for an open shirt over tank and who knows what will happen. <em>Studden Denim Button-Ups, $59.99. Available at <a href="http://www.zara.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product/ca/en/zara-S2012-s/244888/751522/STUDDED%2BDENIM%2BSHIRT" target="_hplink">Zara</a></em>